Interview with Ben Wendel

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Tuesday September 25, 2018

From Jazz in Europe

By: Darrell Craig Harris

Ben Wendel is a Grammy-nominated Canadian-American Saxophonist, writer, producer and educator that has been a successful bandleader, sideman and is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated urban jazz group ‘Kneebody’ having received numerous awards including the ASCAP Jazz Composers Award and many other awards including within the classical music field.

His innovative video series ‘The Seasons’ which is soon to be released as an album, and showcased on his upcoming tours of the United States and Europe. I was fortunate to get a chance to speak with him at his home in New York in amongst his busy schedule.

DCH: What was your motivation to move to the city since you were already getting established musically in Los Angeles?
BW: Just the nature of the music I was playing the people that I was playing with, more and more was pushing me towards NYC‘┬Žand then for travel too, so much of my current professional career is based on touring, and it’s music easier to get to Europe for example from the East coast. So, New York is just It’s a better hub for getting to all of these places.

You know there was a lot of different motivations, definitely that classic thing of always wanting to move to New York and experience the energy of that city and be a fish in a big pond of other jazz musicians.

DCH: You really get a chance to prove yourself against the leaders of the world of Jazz in that type of environment I would think.

BW: Yes totally, you get a sense of where you stand. So, it’s been amazing.

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